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THE CAMP: LIFE ON HOLD

When we arrived at the refugee camp, there were already many tents. We bought some materials to make a tent – some wood and plastic sheeting. The men built it. Our tent has two rooms and a kitchen area. There are 13 of us living here.

The neighbours helped us by giving us things like bottled water, mattresses, blankets, cups and plates. We could pick up and leave at any time, as we don’t have anything of value here. My most treasured things are my necklaces. I wear them all at the same time, because they have many memories. One was given to me by a boyfriend, but I don’t want my mother to know about that!

We have so many needs that you can’t count them. At home things were cheap. Everything is expensive here. We even have to pay for water. In winter there was snow halfway up the sides of our tent and we couldn’t even see out of it. At home we had our own bedrooms, but here we all sleep together in the tent on the ground.

We can’t go to school here, and there are no jobs available because too many people are looking for work. We don’t even have any books. So we just help out with cooking and cleaning, or watch TV all day. We are really bored.

To pass the time we do each other’s hair and draw pictures of each other, or listen to popular songs on the TV. We also make our own clothes.

We are afraid because the government doesn’t know we are here. If they find out, we could be sent back to Syria. But the UN protects us.

Some of the people who are not registered go into the mountains and hide whenever the officials come to count people in the camp. Then they come back to the camp afterwards.